Tesla claims its failure to make self-driving cars isn’t fraudulent

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk on a red Tesla car

AI-powered self-driving cars are still not where they should be. Despite promises from companies such as Tesla for the past decade, fully autonomous driving is still seemingly impossible.

Since 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised fans that full self-driving cars are just two years away. Every year, it’s another two years away, even as fans buy into dangerous beta software that swerves towards crowds and get confused by The Moon.

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With so many empty promises unfulfilled, the electric car company is battling a fraud case. As its autonomous driving promise is literally called “Full Self-Driving”, the company’s product has been called fraudulent.

Filed in September 2021, the class action lawsuit cites multiple instances of Musk lying about the state of Tesla’s autonomous driving on Twitter. One Tweet, dated 2016, claimed that the electric cars would be able to drive across the entire United States by “next year”.

Furthermore, and more egregiously, a video released by the company showed a vehicle driving itself down a prepared route. This video has been labelled as misleading by the plaintiffs of the case.

As part of its defence, Tesla lawyers claim that the company’s inability to make self-driving cars a reality isn’t fraudulent. The company’s legal team is currently attempting to get the lawsuit dismissed.

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“Mere failure to realize a long-term, aspirational goal is not fraud,” the legal team wrote last month.

Autonomous driving is still far from where it should be, at least according to Musk’s lofty claims. Tesla vehicles are still often included in fatal accidents at the behest of self-driving. This has led to numerous investigations due to widespread safety concerns.

The Musk company’s failure to create self-driving cars has reduced the faith in self-driving technology. United States Secretary of Transport Pete Buttigieg has claimed that self-driving is not happening anytime soon.

“It feels like the widespread use of autonomous driving is seven years away, and it’s been seven years away for 10 years,”Buttigieg said. “So the question is, will it be seven years away 10 years from now, or will we actually be getting somewhere?”

Even outside of Tesla, the nature of self-driving cars has caused issues out in the wild. Google’s Waymo vehicles have been caught getting stuck on the same street, and Ride autonomous taxis almost shut down the city of San Francisco.

Will self-driving cars ever actually happen? Are they two years away?